Biafra: HURIWA condemns use of force against Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB members
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has condemned what it termed “overwhelming use of extreme brute and unmoderated military force by Nigerian Army “in the ongoing Operation Python Dance II exercise in the South East.
HURIWA said there was no legal reason for the deployment of the Military in the first instance given that “there was no extenuating circumstances such as any imminent threats to the national security nor was there any threat to the territorial integrity of Nigeria as prescribed by sections 5(4); 217 and 218 of the Constitution of Nigeria.”
The Rights group faulted the deployment of the Army without “recourse to the National Assembly given that the Indigenous of Biafra (IPOB) apart from being non-violent is canvassing self determination recognised by the International Covenant on civil and political Rights and several other global human rights laws.”
HURIWA in a statement by Emmanuel Onwubiko, said it made no sense that at the time that the President had inaugurated a human rights violations’ panel on allegations of military’s involvements in gross human rights violations, the operatives and officers of the Army embarked on another rounds of grave human rights breaches including committing extrajudicial killings of many civilians.
The Rights group said from eye witnesses who gave well corroborated information, the military engaged in broad day vicious attack of the premises of the traditional ruler of AfaraUkwu Umuahia the father of Nnamdi Kanu leading to the killing of dozens of suspected members of the Indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB) who were not armed.
The statement reads, “There is no legal, moral or ethical justification for the reported widespread extra judicial executions by armed soldiers of unarmed suspected members of the Indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB) in the home of the leader of the pro-self determination lobby group in Umuahia and Aba since last Friday.
“It is unfortunate that Ethnic and religious leaders outside of the South East of Nigeria who condemned the agitation for self determination by IPOB have suddenly become complicit and are maintaining disturbing conspiratorial silence over the deliberate killings by soldiers of unarmed civilians. The larger implications of these killings and the failure of leaders of divergent platforms to condemn these atrocious and cowardly acts of criminality will undermine national harmony and mutual trust for generations to come.
“The photographic and video evidences of these massacres show that most of those killed were definitely fleeing from the invading soldiers which proves clear cases of gross crime against humanity which must be transparently and independently investigated and the soldiers who undertook that operation and used lethal weapons on the civilian population are tried and punished”.
HURIWA which accused the Military of carrying out the operation as if the nation was under a martial law, wondered why the armed security forces went after Nnamdi Kanu and his supporters with so much force, fury and overwhelming firepower even when there was no armed confrontation from the unarmed and totally peaceful members of the Indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB).
The Rights group blamed the military’s occupation of South East of Nigeria for the tensions building up all across the civil populace because the impression created is that of military domination, conquer and occupation of the South East of Nigeria that has poor representation in the command and control structures of the Nigerian Military under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The group said the current administration must demonstrate equity and equality of representation of all segments of the population in the command and control structures of the Armed forces just as the Rights group faulted the exclusive alienation of a major Ethnic group like the Igbo in the distribution of strategic military positions in line with the Fexeral Character principle of the Constitution.
HURIWA also accused the Buhari’s government of abuse of power and for double standards and discrimination against the South East by going after IPOB and systematically implementing the demands of both the Arewa elders and youth who had issued a quit notice on Igbos in the North.
“Prior to the controversial military deployment the South East of Nigeria was very peaceful even as persons from all parts of Nigeria were going about their businesses without harassment but the Nigeria Army came with the python dance and created animosity amongst the different ethnic nationalities and this military deployment that has occasioned the killings of many young Igbo youth is interpreted in so many quarters as coordinated Ethnic pogrom.
“We hereby call on the International community not to wait until the entire youth population are wiped off in the name of waging military manhunt against IPOB members before any action can be taken. The South East governors are also guilty of complicity in these killings and their illegal proscription of IPOB has created the avenue for further attacks against the unarmed and totally peaceful members of the Indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB)”, the statement added.